Monday, February 28, 2011

New open source server options for Ubisense myWorld

We have been busy working away on various aspects of Ubisense myWorld. One of the biggest enhancements is behind the scenes, with support for new server options, so that we can run in the cloud or in house.

Up to this point we’ve been working with Arc2Earth, which runs on top of Google App Engine, and both these platforms have worked very well for us, and were a great way of getting an initial system up and running quickly. We see a lot of benefits to running in the cloud, as I’ve talked about on several occasions.

However, a number of our customers, including large utilities and telecom companies, have said that they really like what we’re doing with myWorld, but they would be more comfortable with a solution where the server can run in house. So to support this we have added a new server architecture based on the open source products MapFish and PostGIS. As many of you will know, PostGIS is a very robust spatial database, built on top of PostgreSQL. I have used this on a few projects including whereyougonnabe and have always been very impressed with its functionality and performance. MapFish provides services using data from PostGIS (or from other spatial data sources, including Oracle Spatial, MySQL and Spatialite), using a very similar REST API to that used by Arc2Earth, so that made the migration straightforward and means we can support both server options with a largely common set of code. We’re just using server side components of MapFish, not its client side components (though we might consider using those in the future).

This new server code can run on various operating systems, including Linux and Windows (and Mac!). Customers can run the server in house, while we can now offer services using many different cloud infrastructure providers. We’re currently using Amazon, which has been working well, but it’s good to have alternatives available. We've continued to be pleased with PostGIS, and MapFish too based on our experience so far.

Stay tuned for more news on other cool new functionality on the front end of myWorld coming soon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who knew glass was so cool?

Very slick future technology vision video from glass maker Corning. Quite a few maps make an appearance. Worth watching! (Courtesy of fellow FortiusOne advisory board member Jeff Harris).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GITA Geospatial Solutions Conference 2011

If you haven't already signed up for the GITA Geospatial Solutions Conference, which is coming up in Dallas (Grapevine) from April 10-13, you should check it out. There's a lot of great content in the program, including an open source track, which is a first for GITA. I'll be speaking on that track with my colleague Jason Sanford, about some of the latest developments we've been working on with our Ubisense myWorld product. Jason will also be talking in a workshop on geo in the cloud, and I'll be speaking in the opening session together with Geoff Zeiss. I'll also be chairing the closing panel. I'm just finalizing the participants, watch this space for details, but am aiming for something which will be as interesting as the panel I chaired at the GITA conference last year on the topic of "Not your father's approach to geospatial data creation and sharing" featuring Steve Coast, Andrew Turner, Ron Lake and James Fee. This year we'll be covering a broader range of topics across the geo-universe.

GITA Panel: Not your father's approach to geodata creation and sharing from Peter Batty on Vimeo.

I'm looking forward to the conference and hope to see you there!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cool Egypt tweet map on GeoCommons

My friend Chris Helm, who is a co-conspirator both at FortiusOne and on the organizing committee of FOSS4G, has been doing a lot of interesting work with analyzing and mapping tweets recently. He produced a cool animated map showing the location of tweets tagged with #Egypt #Jan25 or #Tahrir over time.

View full map

When you play the animation (click through to the full map and press play at the bottom left) you can clearly see the moment when Mubarak finally stood down, everything goes crazy. Diane Sawyer from ABC news featured the map on her blog too, which was very cool!